From a student, yours sincerely…

Arya Thampi

Dear teachers,

It has been three years now since I joined college. Looking back at my school days, I cherish some memories, blurred images, but yet clear, of the curiosity I shared with my friends when I was in class 7. There were some blue crystals kept in a bowl and when one of us was asked to put it in a cup of water…whoosh!! it turned into swirling tails and ravishing flames of purple. That pulled a trigger for me to start liking ‘large-scale’ experimentation and put on the hat of the mad scientist! I remember giving my mom headaches when I started my ‘scientific’ career. Our kitchen was my first lab. My fascination for crystals made me dump a bag full of rock salt into water, because I anticipated that something would happen as in the case of the blue crystals that I saw in school, but nothing really happened other than making our food tasteless for a day or two.

Then came the days of science fairs where funkiness was exploited to the greatest extent and the marvel that I found in people’s eyes reflected my own excitement towards science. Teachers were like a walking encyclopaedia to us, knowing an answer to every question in the entire universe. They were like the Encyclopaedia Galactica of the fictional Empire of Galactica created by Asimov. The inspiration that flowed from teachers and science comics (Nah! Not just textbooks always!), and cartoons like Dexter’s Laboratory made me want to be an advocate of science since then.

Soon, however, my enthusiasm and motivation disappeared into a thin layer of golden dust. The dramatic climax of school life started with acknowledging that teaching today is all about completing the syllabus and not about opening up new vistas of knowledge to the students. My dear teachers, with all due respect I am writing this, addressing each one of you. Show us the wide horizons of wisdom and let us gaze upon its magnificence. Let us get inspired about how atoms make bonds, why water is the elixir of life, how each honeybee finds its way back home, why calcium salts are full of red rage flames when burnt, how a million things are made up of 120 elements or so…

Help us channel our thoughts to bring brand new ideas into life, into freedom. Let each of your students become a wonderful person admiring the beauty of life and experiencing the fascination in every tiny spider web in the abandoned aisle of scientific enquiry. Let each of them grow, tasting the tang of every lesson you have taught and showed and experimented with them. Let each of them be inspired to inspire future generations. Refine them into what they really are. Relish and expand the flamboyance of the scientific world and unfold it to them, to us, for you are the real revolutionaries.

The author is a student at the Indian Institute of Science Education and research (IISER), Pune. She loves writing random stuff (mostly a toned down version of nostalgia). Her hobbies include music, critiquing movies, travelling and doing a little bit of science. She can be reached at [email protected].

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